Last update: Sep 27, 2022, 6:57 PM IST

India wants NavIC to become its de facto GPS system

NavIC is an indigenous navigation system developed by ISRO, and the country’s government wants to make it the standard smartphone system in India.

The Indian government wants smartphone brands like Xiaomi, Apple and Samsung to make their phones navigation-compatible with India’s NavIC constellation, which is India’s own navigation system that competes in the market with the Global Positioning System, or GPS.

News of phones requiring NavIC support has been cited from various sources in a Reuters the report this week. Brands making such drastic changes could push up the price of the phone, which has already risen over the past few years.

The report mentions that the government wants to abandon GPS, which is an American technology. As part of its mission of self-sufficiency, NavIC is supposed to be better for navigation in India since it originates from that country, he adds.

It also said the government’s proposal would make it mandatory to add NavIC to hardware installations, even though GPS would also be available. Such changes will force phone manufacturers to completely rethink their design and production plans. The sentiment is reportedly shared by Samsung and Xiaomi, which held private meetings with the ministry last month.

The January 1st deadline seems pretty short for such a change, and the report mentions that phone brands have sought until 2025 for such implementations to take effect on the hardware side.

The addition of a new navigation system will affect not only phone manufacturers, but also chipset manufacturers. Neither company nor ISRO would comment for this story, but the developments suggest that the Indian government wants to push NavIC further into India’s technology ecosystem.

Xiaomi has several phones that claim to be NavIC compatible, but changing the dynamics of navigation in the industry in such a short time may not be feasible for stakeholders. The ministry denied the Reuters claims in its report and says it has no plans to introduce NavIC into phones anytime soon.

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